i’ll give you a point for that

so friday nights have kinda become family movie nights at our house. it’s been a lot of fun. this past weekend we watched “honey, i blew up the kid”. we watched the first one “shrunk the kids” last week.

well it’s a lot of fun. we let the kids eat dinner in the living room, eat popcorn or ice cream for dessert, stay up late; they love it! the only problem is that it leaves a big mess. and deb and i are usually too tired to clean it up that night.

. . . meanwhile, the men at our church have been meeting at starbucks every other weekend for a time of fellowship. this past weekend was one of those saturdays. we meet at 7.30 am and i didn’t want to wake up early enough to clean up the mess. saturdays are the only day i get sleep in. so although i don’t mind too much waking up early every other saturday, i didn’t want to wake up even earlier to clean the living room. but i didn’t want to be gone saturday morning and leave deb at home alone with all the kids either.

. . . meanwhile, the kids are going through some kinda phase right now where their selective hearing has totally tuned out deb’s voice. anything she asks them to do, they just won’t obey (esp. with anna). she gets frustrated; the kids get frustrated because they want to “do what they want to do when they want to do it” and mom keeps bugging them. when ever i come home the kids are still annoyed to do any work, but maybe i put more of the fear of God into them or something because at leas they comply. i don’t let them get away with disrespecting deb when i’m home; but i still don’t like being the enforcer.

. . . so back to friday night . . . i’m laying in bed trying to figure out what to do about all of this. and i come up with a BRILLIANT plan (if i do say so myself). i remembered what anna’s teacher said a couple weeks ago when we were having a conference. he said the kids love getting points.

so i came up with the “nicest lara” game. basically, every time the kids do anything nice they get a point. being nice to their sibling or parent - a point. picking up 5 things in the living room - 5 points; and so forth. hugs - 1 point. making their bed - 3 points (putting the sheet, blanket and pillow all in the right place). anything and everything nice earns you a point. (click on the picture to the right to download a printable copy of the instructions i left for the family saturday morning before i left)

so what do all these points get you? well if during the day you are able to accumulate 50 points then you get a scoop of ice cream for dessert. if you earn 100 points then you either get to add toppings to your scoop or get another scoop.

my plan was to tape the instructions on the ceiling above anna’s bunk bed so she’d see it when she woke up. she actually woke up just as i was almost leaving so i just handed her the instructions as i left.

and boy was i amazed when i walked in saturday morning after starbucks and the living room was spotless. the dining room was spotless. and the kids were SOOO excited about how many points they had already accumulated. anna had a clipboard with everyone’s name on it in columns and tally marks under everyone’s name.

so all day saturday they loved getting points. sunday same thing. the only thing we had to do when we asked them to do something was to tell them how many points they’d get. they even started looking for things to do and asking us how many points they’d get for it. the awesome thing for us is that even after dinner was over and they already had eaten their ice cream they were still eager to accumulate points.

we’re not exactly sure how long this will last. perhaps when they get tired of ice cream for dinner. and maybe we’ll have to adjust the point totals for weekdays when they aren’t at home for as many hours before dinner. but right now we’re loving it. in fact, we shared our idea with another family and they asked “can we play the ‘nicest lara’ game?” :-)

the funniest part for us though is when i turn to deb (or vice versa) and ask her to do something for me. it could be something as small as, “can you bring back the chips when you come back from the kitchen?” or “will you go put julia back in bed for the third time?” or “can i have a drink of your milkshake?” but we follow it up by saying, “i’ll give you a point for that!” :-)

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// today i'm thankful for:
1. points
2. exercising this morning
3. smart water
4. knowing God cares about the little things
5. and he’s able to take care of the big things too.